My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Genre: Classic, musical
Length: About 2 ½ hours
Based on: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Year it came out: 1995
My overall opinion: Well, first of all, note that this really wasn’t a movie. It was a concert, and had very little acting – a few face expressions, occasional bits of moving around. But ultimately, a concert. Music was the entire point. And yet somehow…I managed to sit and enjoy it for a full 2 ½ hours! Most remarkable. So, here’s my evaluation. :)
I preferred Hugh Jackman’s What Have I Done?. His voice was stronger and I preferred it. However, the bad guy (you know, the one who throws out Fantine) was pretty good in this. His face expressions were great, and his voice was good too! At The End of the Day was also well done.
I wasn’t much of a fan of the Fantine (Ruthie Henshall) in this version…well, specifically of her hair. She had long blond hair. However, her voice was stunning – a little deeper than Anne’s, which I liked. When she sang I Dreamed a Dream I was especially impressed. She did a great job, and I preferred her version over Anne Hathaway’s.
The song Lovely Ladies was also very expressive. Always good. I really liked Fantine and Valjean’s conversation when he saved her after the lovely ladies scene. It was pretty neat!Okay, I admit – this Javert (Philip Quast) has almost as good a voice as my favorite Javert, Russell Crowe. And Valjean (Colm Wilkinson) did an excellent job on Who Am I?. Most impressive! Cosette as a child was okay, though in Castle on a Cloud, I preferred the new Cosette’s whispered line of “I love you” to this girl’s sung one.
Madame Thenardier (Jenny Galloway) was one of my favorite parts of this particular production. She was downright fearsome, with the perfect voice and face expressions. She would strike fear into anyone’s heart! And Messieur Thenardier (Alun Armstrong) was also amazing. He was very wiggly (delightful since many stood so still and with such boring faces) and quite perfect for the part. In fact, they were both perfect for their parts – absolutely awful! Also, sidenote, Armstrong was the one actor I was familiar with – he’s been in a ton of Dickens’ movies.
Young Gavroche (Adam Searles) has an amazing accent – how does one so young get one like that?! His solo when Javert is captured especially brought that accent out. The Barricade Boys’ Song was also pretty amazing – all I wrote down about it was “Wow.”
Javert’s Stars was very good, though I still slightly prefer Russell Crowe’s.
Enjolras! LOVE that voice. Oh my word. I basically spent every bit of his singing in a dead faint. Red & Black was SO good. I was super impressed. Unfortunately, I ended up with no strong feeling on Marius – or perhaps that’s good. He had a good voice, but I preferred Enjolras’. Then again, his was so stunning that it really isn’t fair to compare them.
As to Cosette (Judy Kuhn) and her voice…she was great! I loved her voice as well. Now, if we could put her into the 2012 movie with the looks of the 1998 girl…perfection! She did a stunning job on Heart Full of Love. And Eponine (Lea Salonga)! I was ready for anything after the cruel disappointment of her being entirely gone from the 1998 version. But here? Hooray! She was an adorable girl. I like the Asian look! I do prefer Samantha Barks, but it would take so much to beat her…this girl was great.
One Day More earned itself a heart on my paper! It was very good and a favorite from this show. Unfortunately, On My Own was not as memorable, though I loved how much Eponine was singing out with her whole heart. And then of course, there was A Little Fall of Rain. Let’s just say that this scene brought me to tears. For real. I can’t imagine what a total wreck I would’ve been if I’d actually gone to this concert. The fact that I cried over it? Means it was WELL-DONE.
Enjolras comforting Marius over Eponine’s death was so sweet. I loved that Marius actually showed how deeply he was affected by the death – I don’t think he does quite so much in other versions.
I liked Drink With Me and Bring Him Home was lovely! And then there was a lovely flute solo (or some such instrument) after the massacre at the barricades.
As to Javert’s Suicide…I wrote two things. “Impressive. WOW.” It was good. Really good. I mean, people killing themselves is always bad – but this song? And how well it was done? Very good.
There was some song about turning through the years…I rather enjoyed that as well! And then Empty Chairs and Empty Tables sung by Marius was also stunning. It was nice to have an opinion about him for once! The A Heart Full of Love reprisal by Cosette and Marius and Valjean was most delightful!And then the whole ending…again, just wow. Do You Hear the People Sing was awesome again. A great finale. And then! Don’t stop watching just because they all begin applauding! No, I forbid you to stop there! Keep watching it’s worth it.
You see, after lots of applause, 17 Valjeans from around the world come up. 17 different Valjeans, 17 countries. And then! They sing Do You Hear the People Sing with each of them singing a line. And it all blends together seamlessly. I was so impressed!
So. Watch to the end. I also found it rather nice to have the English subtitles. There’s also a version with Spanish subtitles, which is what I watched for the first ½ until discovering the English version. Since I neither read nor speak Spanish…those were of no help. Yay for English!
In conclusion…a good concert with some good actors and some great voices. Watch it if you have an empty afternoon ahead of you!
Want to watch it and form your own opinions? It's easy, since it's on YouTube! Here you go: